The South Dakota Field Office (SDFO) has an interest in the historical conditions and site potential of riparian systems in northwestern South Dakota.
Current Ecological Site descriptions do not adequately characterize riparian system soil complexes, nor do they provide adequate
state in transition models, making assessment of riparian condition challenging.
Historical land uses appear to have altered the function of parts of or whole riparian systems in the area, though questions remain as to the extent of past alterations or the impacts of current land use practices.
Naturally occurring salts in the soil appear to be affected by land uses as well as by precipitation and drought patterns.
Examples of questions the SDFO are interested in answering include, but are not limited to:
How do stock dams/water developments affect salinity, erosion, and deposition in riparian systems? What was the historic prevalence of woody vegetation on prairie riparian systems in northwestern SD, and how could they be restored? What management actions could reduce salinization at riparian sites? What is the biophysical potential of riparian complexes in the area? What is the economic impact of riparian health on rangeland production (vegetation/livestock)? How could management decisions influence riparian development and hydrology in small prairie streams? BLM has begun working with partners (The Nature Conservancy [TNC], NRCS, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies [BCR], and World Wildlife Fund [WWF]) on riparian-focused mapping and research projects.
Current project efforts spearheaded by TNC through a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grant include development of riparian health and conservation prioritization maps and technical guidance for assessing stream/riparian health in western SD.
BLM seeks a recipient who would work collaboratively with BLM and its partners to further research and develop technical guidance to inform management of prairie riparian systems in northwestern South Dakota.
These resources are meant to be used by land managers, conservationists, and members of the public.
To build on TNCâ¿¿s NFWF grant efforts to analyze watershed health and assist in prioritizing resource management.
The recipient would work with the SDFO on riparian research and would contribute to TNC and other partner efforts to develop technical guidance and education resources/materials for private landowners, interested publics, and conservation partners.
Some of these overall objectives include:
Describing locally relevant prairie stream types and identifying reference states and trajectories; identifying stream evolution pathways in a prairie system; identifying causal factors; and developing management recommendations.
The materials developed through this agreement would contribute to the ongoing efforts by BLM and partners to better understand and manage riparian systems crucial to working rangelands.
These materials would be used along with others developed by partners to provide information to members of the public/private land owners and BLMâ¿¿s permittees for use in making informed management decisions.
They would also contribute to BLMâ¿¿s better understanding of prairie riparian systems and how to manage them for their best potential â¿¿ for land health and public use.